Synopsis: Was Mr. Darcy real? Is time travel really possible? For pragmatic Manhattan artist Eliza Knight the answer to both questions is absolutely, Yes! And Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia is the reason why! His tale of love and romance in Regency England leaves Eliza in no doubt that Fitz Darcy is the embodiment of Jane Austen’s legendary hero. And she’s falling in love with him. But can the man who loved the inimitable Jane Austen ever love average, ordinary Eliza Knight? Eliza’s doubts grow, perhaps out of proportion, when things start to happen in the quiet hamlet of Chawton, England; events that could change everything. Will the beloved author become the wedge that divides Fitz and Eliza or the tie that binds them?
Author Interview: I am so excited to bring you an interview with Sally Smith O'Rourke, Author of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen.
Favorite color, food, drink and animal?
Favorite color, huh? I like blue and green equally and don’t really have a favorite food. I drink mostly ice tea and water although I love milk. I drink wine with celebratory meals and have an occasional cocktail (Gin gimlet, Long Island ice tea and margarita are my preferences).
Except for camels, I like all animals. Have had as pets (some for my grandson), dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, lizards, snakes and turtles. I like dogs and cats best. I have a cat, a grey tabby named Rambi.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
As I have a full time job (I’m a surgical scrub nurse) my free time is taken up mostly with writing and promoting my books. But I occasionally I still sew, cook, bake and make candy. I also dabble in gum paste flowers, etc. for cake decorating.
SBN: Candy making!!!?? YUM again! I LOVE, LOVE milk chocolate! I am a corporate controller for a health system! I always wanted to be a nurse.)
Aren't these beautiful? So Amazing!
When/Why did you start writing?
My late husband, Michael was a writer; film and television, medical and aviation and a published author as is my step-daughter, Kelly so I never really thought of myself as a writer since I was surrounded by so much talent. However, looking back, I wrote a lot I just never took what I did very seriously. I was a speech and drama major in college so wrote speeches and the occasional scene but didn’t really consider it particularly creative. I tended to think of my hand work my creative outlet. Mike told me I was a good writer that I simply needed practice but I thought he was just being nice as was his nature. Although I continued to fool around with writing and learned a lot from him, I still wasn’t the writer in the family.
We wrote three books together although he did a bulk of the actual writing. He always denied that but it’s the way I remember it. We never attempted to get them published mostly because his agent wasn’t particularly interested in anything that wasn’t in one of Mike’s genres (dark fiction and political thrillers), love stories didn’t fit with his plan. We did option the film rights to The Man Who Loved Jane Austen to a British production company but Mike died suddenly and I assumed they would want to invalidate the option but instead they wanted me to write the screenplay. So the first thing I felt like I wrote on my own was the adaptation of our book. The film didn’t get made but I did realize that I could write on my own.
First I decided I wanted to get the books we wrote together published as a tribute to Mike, particularly The Man Who Loved Jane Austen because he considered it the ultimate Valentine as it came from the love we had for each other.
It was published in 2006
The Maidenstone Lighthouse followed in 2008
Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage in 2009.
Working on all of them gave me some great practice, particularly Christmas at Sea Pines Cottage since Meteor’s Tale (its original title) was not a Christmas story.
All of that gave me the confidence to write my own novel. My first solo effort, Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen, was published last November 29th (Mike’s birthday)
SBN: That is so cool. I have goosebumps.
Where/When do you feel most comfortable writing?
I write anywhere and anytime. I always have a pad of paper with me so I can write and when I know I’m going to be somewhere waiting (Doctor’s office, airport, etc.) I take my laptop.
Have you ever been inspired by another author? If so, who?
Mike was and continues to be my main inspiration. It is a large part of why I keep writing, it helps me continue to feel connected to him.
Is it hard to let the characters go once you complete a novel?
One of the things that Mike taught me is to not get emotionally involved with the story or characters and that lesson as served me well. It makes it much easier to make revisions for editors if you are not attached. So I’ve never had a problem of letting my characters go and generally by the time I’ve finished a novel I have already started making notes and researching my next project and am ready to move on.
Where does your inspiration for a story come from?
I’m not really sure where the inspiration comes from. Sometimes a story is full blown in my head and other times it’s nothing more than a seed that blossoms as I write as with Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. It actually started out as a journal by Jane that covered the five days the American Fitz Darcy was in Chawton. One of the journal entries ended with “I wonder what Mr. Darcy is doing right now?” I started writing what Mr. Darcy was doing and the book just flowed from there, leaving the journal in the dust.
Do you have a favorite author? Who?
Besides Mike, I’m partial to Jane Austen, Ann Rice, Dean Koontz and David McCullough. However, since I started writing regularly most of my reading is research based.
SBN: Sally, thank you so much for letting us get to know you today. You can connect with Sally at her website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
Purchase: You can purchase Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen online at Amazon.
Giveaway: Sally has graciously allowed me to offer you all a giveaway! I have one copy of Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen to giveaway. Complete the attached form for a chance to win. Thanks again Sally!